Charlotte Hornets Assert Will in Second Half to Defeat 76ers, 109-93

The Charlotte Hornets (3-1) were able to bounce back from a recent loss with their first home victory of the season against the Philadelphia 76ers (0-4).

There were two things that Charlotte Hornets‘ fans were thinking about coming into this contest. First, would Joel Embiid show up and play amazingly? Second, would the Hornets put this Philadelphia 76ers team away quickly, as they should?

The first question was answered quickly, as Embiid was given the night off by coach Brett Brown. He is still coming back from missing two seasons with a myriad of foot injuries, so the night off wasn’t terribly surprising, only terribly disappointing.

First Quarter:

For the second question, no, the Hornets took their sweet time asserting their will. This game started off as ugly as any 90’s Pistons fan dream. Despite some nice aggressive play from Charlotte and some normal ineptitude from the worst team in basketball, neither team could do too much. The Hornets only shot 37% in the first quarter, turned the ball over at a much higher rate than normal (5 TO’s), and ended up tied with Philly at 26 at the end of the opening period. Kemba was the main culprit in the turnover issues, as he gave the ball away three times and showed some uncharacteristic carelessness.

Second Quarter:

The second quarter somehow managed to be even uglier for the Hornets. The Sixers started to shoot the ball a little better, but the home team could not respond. They were outscored by seven in the second and trailed by that same amount at halftime: 53-46. One positive for the Hornets from the first half was the foul disparity.

The Hornets shot 22 free throws in the first half, compared to only eight for the visiting team. Kemba Walker was the leading scorer for the Hornets at halftime with 12, and in a small note, Treveon Graham made his NBA debut after MKG got in foul trouble in the 2nd quarter. He only played about a minute, but it was nice to see him on the floor.

Third Quarter:

A good tongue lashing is often times good for a sloppy NBA team. Steve Clifford probably really laid into his team in the locker room. It is amazing how different the Hornets looked when that whistle started the third quarter. Kemba scored five quick points, and Cody Zeller punctuated a nice Hornet’s run with a two-handed slam off of a pick and roll.

Nicolas Batum got VERY hot in the third, hit a couple of threes, and ended up with 17 points in the quarter! Charlotte also righted their FG% issues, raising their game percentage to 47%. The quarter score was 39-20 in favor of, mostly, Nic Batum. Basically, this game started looking like a playoff team against a lottery bound team. Thank Goodness.

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Fourth Quarter:

Suffice it to say, the fourth quarter felt like the game had been decided. The 76ers played like a really young team, and the Hornets played like a veteran team. Both teams still played, but this quarter lacked the frenetic scoring pace of the 3rd as both teams settled into a rhythm that neither helped nor hurt either team overall.

The second year improvement for Frank Kaminsky continued, as he had 14 points and five rebounds in his role off of the bench. The Hornets also, despite starting so cold, ended up shooting well from the field and hit 13 three-point shots.

Six players on the team scored in double-digits, and the Charlotte Hornets improved their overall record to 3-1 on the young season. A couple of standout statistics: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led the team in rebounds with 13, Walker and Batum scored 22 and 20 points respectively, and Cody Zeller topped the +/- rankings with a +25 in 26 minutes of play.

Make sure to check back in to the Swarm and Sting later today to get specific Takeaways and further analysis from the Hornets 109-93 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

PS: Loved that the sideline commentators were picking up Coach Cliff. He is always talking, and even threw in a few nice curses when his players made poor plays or when the officials drew his ire.

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